‘Music Man’ tells a tale of redemption and romance

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"Music Man" tells the story of a traveling salesman and con man by the name of Harold Hill (Michael Walker), who poses as a music teacher.

Kati Morris

On Sunday, The Chico Theatre Company hosted the first performance of Meredith Wilson’s classic musical “The Music Man”, directed by Rick Anderson. 

A classic tale, the 1962 musical tells the story of a traveling salesman and con man by the name of Harold Hill (Michael Walker), who poses as a music teacher. Ironically, Walker is the band director of the local Las Plumas High School and Oroville High School bands and the Oroville Community Concert Band.

The play is a lighthearted, romantic comedy that is suitable for all ages. The majority of the cast were young children, carefree as they sang and danced along to the music.

The story follows Hill who finds his way to the fictional town of River City, Iowa in 1912, where he promises the citizens that he will form a marching band. Hill manages to trick the townspeople into purchasing uniforms and instruments from him with the intention of skipping town once he receives the money. His plan falls through when he realizes that he has fallen in love with one of the townspeople.

The spotlight lands on the female lead, Marian “The Librarian” (Holly Quick). She is a charismatic librarian and piano instructor who catches the attention of Hill and, eventually, his heart. Marian, who knew of Hill’s dishonesty, keeps the secret to herself for the sake of her younger brother, Winthrop (Titus Rhodes). A shy and quiet child, he becomes infatuated with Hill’s promise of a band.

At its core, “The Music Man” is a story about redemption. We see the transformation of Hill, from a wicked con artist to a lovesick man, willing to put someone else first for perhaps the first time in his life. Marian manages to turn Hill from the play’s antagonist to a respected character by curtain call. 

We also witness the transformation of River City, as Hill injects joy in the form of music into the once dull and lifeless town. From the cynical city officials who turned to a barbershop quartet, to the aloof librarian who falls in love with him, his character gives hope to small-town America.

Proceeds from “The Music Man” go toward the LPO band’s upcoming trip to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

You can watch a performance of “The Music Man” at The Chico Theatre Company from now until Feb. 16. Dates and ticket information are listed on the company’s website. 

 

Kati Morris can be contacted at [email protected] or @neutralsoymlk on Twitter.